The South Korean government’s intake from gaming taxes fell by 82.4 percent year-on-year to KRW81.8 billion (US$70.5 million), showed data from the country’s National Gambling Control Commission, issued through its official website late last month.
South Korea currently has 17 casinos, but customers that have only a South Korean passport are allowed to gamble at just one of them – Kangwon Land, located 150 kilometres (93 miles) southeast of Seoul in Kangwon province.
Tax revenue at the facility, run by Kangwon Land Inc, decreased 83.3 percent to KRW59.9 billion last year, compared to KRW357.8 billion in 2019.
That figure was still more than twice as much as the 16 foreigner-only casinos combined. The South Korean government’s tax intake from gaming at these casinos fell 79.7 percent year-on-year in 2020, to KRW21.9 billion.
Kangwon Land alone accounted for a 14.8 percent share of the nation’s 2020 gambling tax revenue.
Casinos in South Korea are also required to make contributions to a number of funds. In 2020, such contributions amounted to a total of KRW322.6 million. Kangwon Land alone paid a total of KRW268.7 billion in contributions to funds, down by 8.2 percent in year-on-year terms; foreigner-only casinos made total contributions amounting to KRW53.9 million, a decline of 60.7 percent from the aggregate amount paid in the previous year.
The country’s overall tax revenue from gaming fell by 82.9 percent year-on-year in 2020, to KRW404 billion. That compares to KRW2.36 trillion in 2019, according to the official data.
South Korea’s gambling industry is defined in the national figures as covering not only casinos and lotteries, but also horse racing, cycling races, boat races and a local version of bullfighting, which involves two animals going head-to-head.
The biggest-single share contribution to South Korea’s gambling tax intake was by far the horse-racing segment, with a 62.8-percent share, or just over KRW253.7 trillion.
Due to Covid-19 countermeasures, South Korean casinos faced capacity limitations – and periods of temporary closure – in 2020, as the effects of the pandemic began to be felt in the country early in the year.
The number of visits to South Korea’s casinos stood at 1,760,232 in 2020, a 71.3 percent decline year-on-year, according to data from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, issued in May.
The ministry’s data also indicated that the gambling cash turnover in South Korea’s casino market for full-year 2020 fell by 64.5 percent from the prior-year period, to KRW1.04 trillion.
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